Wednesday, January 6, 2016

ball mill results

Well, the holidays are over and it's time to get back to work. First order of business was excavating my desk and work table. So far, after managing that, I drew a pattern for a small transom job and started the finish work on the day lily, you remember, the commission for my oldest friend (and yes, you still have to wait to see it, I'm going to do a start to finish post when I finally get it finished and framed).

Before I started on the day lily casting, I went over to see what I had in the ball mill. I had let it run off and on for a couple of days and then it was the holidays and the in between week.

Well, first of all, there is nothing between big chunks (which aren't so big anymore) and powder. 

No smaller grains to be sifted out. The other thing is, besides the small amount of powder that got dumped out with the ceramic marbles and glass chunks,

it was all caked against the sides and bottom of the canister.

OK, I thought, just get a paint brush and brush it down and dump it out. Uh, no, that didn't work.

OK, I'll get that extra spatula from the kitchen and get the powder out with that. Uh, no, that didn't work either.

I had to get the thin metal tool I used to clean out the canister in the first place and scrape that shit off the sides, bottom, and shoulders of the canister.

So now I have glass powder all over me but I did get most of it dumped out and in a jar (and yes, I was wearing a mask the whole time). Next time I'm going to weigh the glass chunks first and the powder after to see how much is lost during the process.

I returned the ceramic marbles and the still remaining chunks of glass to the canister and started it up again. At this rate, it's going to take me all year to powder the remaining 14 or so colors. And what a pain in the ass.

No wonder everyone keeps giving this thing away.


  1. oh my gawd - that was funny!
    By the time it all gets ground to powder, the electric bill will be doubled.
    What we suffer for our art!

  2. We've had a ball mill sitting under a table at the college since as long as I can remember. So... yeah.

    If you want powder, there is a company that makes machines that make dust. I guess years ago the auto and related businesses needed dust to test engines and filters and such. Old timers out in Arizona were making a mint digging up dust and selling it to them, and at premium prices. So, an auto engineer said, hey we can make our own dust. He build a device that hurls stuff against each other in a centrifugal fashion. The dust is ultra pure and can even be set up for a specific shape (spheres, spindles, flakes, etc.).

    If you want I can look them up, but the machine is not cheap.

  3. Is it loud, cause that would drive me crazy. The big machine that grinds down the old chunks of road to reuse when they are resurfacing hiways is loud and I would think this thing would be loud, too.

  4. There's nothing like a time-saving machine, right? This is all pretty interesting to me, who knows nothing about this sort of process, but I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you.

    I did look at a couple of forums, and discovered an antique English miniature oil lamp I have has been decorated with pulverized glass. The lamp people call the technique "overshot." The lamp is rose-colored glass, and the outside looks like large, clear sugar crystals. Very pretty.

  5. Nope nope nope - that scraping business sounds like nails against the chalkboard to me. Shudder...

  6. Well, you'll have inventory for next year.

  7. That does sound like a complete pain in the ass.

  8. I expected to see faster results also. Maybe the humidity made all the powder stick so bad.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.